News 01-23

Branch News – Sunday 8 January

Week 1, 2023

Events in brief (*details further down)

This week to Sunday 15 January 2023

  • Talk by Dr Richard Drexel. 7pm Saturday 14 January *

Over the Next Months:

  • AGM of HB Branch.  Saturday 18 March at 3pm

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Books – a living Bequest

Commemoration of the First Goetheanum


Talk by Dr Richard Drexel

Budget 2023



Climate Change?


Books – a living Bequest

Mike and Allysen Caris have generously gifted, to our Branch Library, most of their large personal collection of books on anthroposophical and related topics based on their special interests and their careers teaching in Steiner Waldorf High Schools.

Our warmest thanks go to both of you as I am sure that this gift will significantly increase the range of books available in the Library. 

The Librarians will give Newsletter updates on this in due course.

Commemoration of the First Goetheanum

Usually the period of time between December and the end of January is a quiet time for the Rudolf Steiner Centre, with this being the traditional down period along with people choosing this time to have holiday breaks. This year however was a little different in that we housed two significant events that spoke deeply of anthroposophy from a n historical perspective. 

The first began on the 17 th of December with the opening of an exhibition entitled; Art Related to the First Goetheanum. And what better way to begin such an event than with a delicious afternoon tea.

Hans Mulder was to have presented the opening address however due to sudden unwellness was unable to be with us and the so we hastily rearranged the afternoon and grateful thanks must go to those who stepped in at very short notice, in particular Robin Bacchus who extended the presentation that he was originally giving.

People were welcomed by Marjorie Theyer who spoke the following verse by Rudolf Steiner;

Made out of Nature’s materials,
The Goetheanum wanted to speak through its forms
Of the Eternal to the eyes of human beings.
The flames were able to consume the matter.
Henceforward Anthroposophia—
Her edifice formed of the Spirit—
Shall speak to the inner soul of the human being
In words of fire, tempered by the flames—
The flames of the Spirit”

The verse above was written in one of Rudolf Steiner’s notebooks, April 1923

This was followed by an illustrated talk by Robin Bacchus who brought a picture of the complexities and deeper meaning behind this architectural wonder.

Michelle Vette gave a personal reflection of her recent time in Dornach, along with reflections of how this event was being acknowledged elsewhere. 

During the next two weeks the Centre was opened for guided tours of the exhibition which still remains open until 20th January.

A gathering, Commemorating the loss of the first Goetheanum was held on Saturday 31st September – 100 years to the day. A large enthusiastic audience joined this event which included a talk by Hans van Florenstein Mulder, followed by conversation.

Sue Simpson led those present in some simple but powerful eurythmy exercises and we finished this commemoration with a wonderfully delicious, shared meal with so many varied dishes.

On behalf of the Initiative group, I would like to warmly and sincerely thank all those who contributed to making these events over the last 3 weeks not only heart-warming but deeply significant as we take the thoughts and pictures received over this time with us into the future.

Bernie Raichle

* * * * *


Do you have any news or ideas or inspirations to share?  Working groups, artistic or craft courses, study groups?  Publicise them here and invite participation.  Email Robin at

 * * * * *  

Talk by Dr Richard Drexel

“Major and Minor in the Human Being”

Talk by Dr Richard Drexel


Saturday 14th January 2023, 7.00pm


Rudolf Steiner Centre

401 Whitehead Road, Hastings


The relationship of music to the human body and human being, has been and continues to be a topic of research and has long been an area of interest and study for Dr Drexel.

Music therapy has evolved and is widely recognised in the wider society for its role in healing.

It is essential in the study and practise of eurythmy where the human body becomes the instrument for music.


We are grateful to have this opportunity to share in Dr Drexel’s knowledge and experience and welcome you to his presentation.

 * * * * *  


In 10 weeks we have our AGM on Sat 18 March, when one of tasks is to approve the Branch’s financial budget for 2023.  This will depend on what our goals and projects are for this year.  What do you, as a member of the Branch want to see happen, whether for yourself personally, or for a group of members, or for the public of Hawkes Bay. 

How are we able to help our locality or region and the people thereof?  Discuss with your group or friends the possibilities that you envisage and let us (any member of the Committee) know and be prepared to introduce and discuss the idea or project at the AGM. 

 We would especially love to hear what new and younger members and friends would like to see, hear or experience.  Please communicate before 1st March as the Agenda has to be published 14 days before the AGM to give everyone time to consider proposals.

Robin, Committee Chair


The next Branch Committee meeting is Thursday 9 February at 5:30pm.

Committee members for 2022-3 are:

Robyn Hewetson    Secretary       021-217 8688  

Kate Hartland          Treasurer      021-120 0970

Robin Bacchus         Chair           022-398 2805

John Jackson                              022 122 8002 

Angela Hair                                 027-4436 737

 * * * * * 


We have received a request from Linda in Germany with regards her father who worked here for a few years in his youth – he is now 82 years old.

In NZ he stayed from 1960-62 - he was called Dennis [Dietrich von Delhaes-Guenther].  He worked on a sheep farm which was located not far from Hastings and Napier.

 “My father worked there as a member of a fencing gang.  The owner of the farm was Ms. Burbury, a member of the Anthroposophical Society.  The administrator was Mr Barnett, who lived there with his wife and three young children.” 
“For his 80th birthday my sister and I have given him a trip to New Zealand as a present and we will be in Napier from Feb, 13th to 15th 2023.

My first questions would be, if it is possible, to visit your center and if maybe still some members of my father’s age are alive so that he could talk to them.  The issue is that we would like to visit the farm where he had worked in the 1960s, but he forgot the name.

It would be so great if somehow through the older members of your center we would be able to get some more pieces of information, so that we will be able to localize the farm my father had been to.

I have made enquiries and located the sheep station, 'Rawhenua', on River Road, near Sherenden, for them. 

If any readers, older or not, would like to meet Dennis (on say Wednesday 15th February, time to be discussed - probably morning), please contact Robin on


Climate Change?

John Allison has discovered some interesting climate data going back to the 1870s.  He writes: I don’t want to tell people what they should think. Maybe a better course could be to just offer a link to the paper as an example of what I consider to be independent climate science rather than politicized science funded to support an agenda of social and economic change.”

The climatologist, John R Christy of the University of Alabama, has compiled 4 charts of the average daily high temperatures for each summer [92 days - June, July, August] for about 150 years [1870s to 2021].

They all show fluctuations of up to 3 °F around a mean of around 90 °F with a slight rise until the 1950 when there was noticeable decline until late 1970s (older readers may remember the predictions in the 1970s that we were heading for another ice-age.  The averages have risen a little since then but not back to the levels in the 1870s.The [high resolution] article can be seen at:


The charts referred to are on page 9.


Robin Bacchus has read the article and writes independently:


The article “A Practical Guide to Climate Change” is a very interesting reading.  Climatology is a complex subject. There are so many questions:

What climate [temperature, precipitation or wind] metrics [averages, extremes, intensity, duration, etc.] is it meaningful to measure? 

There will probably be at least some measure that suits or seemingly supports your particular bias, whichever way you lean.  These metrics simply describe, in a numerical way, what has been happening over a longer or shorter period.

Then there is the time range and frequency.   It is like a road – you could just sample measure all the uphill slopes and neglect the downs or contrary parts. 1870 to 1950 average summer high temperature slightly up; 1950 to 1980 strongly down; 1980 to 2020 slightly up;  overall 1870 to 2020 slightly down.

In the past, there have been ice ages.  Sea levels have fluctuated hugely - up as well as down - many metres not just centimetres. Off the Alabama coast ancient tree trunks can be found at a depth of 60 metres.  Legend tells us that Atlantis was flooded.

Then what geographic features influence the chosen metrics in a region? :

  • Moisture or dampness in the region, from marsh to desert?
  • Land cover – from forest/jungle to prairie; cultivated crops to wilderness, urban to rural?
  • Latitude from the equator? Tropics to temperate to polar
  • The nearness of mountain ranges, rivers, oceans, etc. to the north/south or east/west?
  • Prevailing winds? Or El Nino Southern Oscillation influence.

 Then there is the process (or mechanism) of how greenhouse gases {GHG} [Water vapour, Carbon dioxide, Methane, Ozone, Nitrous oxide, Chlorofluorocarbons] affect the climate metrics.  Are they significant?  Are they really the cause of observed changes in the metrics, or are they just bystanders?  The relationships are tenuous.

Can human action significantly change the level of greenhouse gases enough to influence or reverse the problem metrics? 

Maybe we should stop breathing as we are continually producing CO2? !!!

Maybe, less drastically or more realistically, we should reduce the energy of the Economy – not forever expanding it – as it consumes resources and pollutes the atmosphere with greenhouse gases?

Is hubris on our part to think we can reverse the recent climate change? 

On another tack: What are the good effects of CO2?  It is plant food.  And plants are our food.


Government policy.  Should our Government policy focus on reversing climate change?  How much of its tax revenue should be spent on such a project?

Or should we focus on being prepared in advance for some of the forecast bad effects that are scaring people?

  • Stop building on low-lying land just because it is easy/cheap to do so, when the land is prone to flooding after heavy storms.
  • Make any buildings currently on such marginal land into easily movable units – on piles, not a concrete based floor.
  • Sequester carbon in healthy (biodynamic) compost and black humus soils.  This has great resilience in dry weather.
  • Use permaculture wherever possible rather than ploughing and exposing the soil to parching.
  • Plant more trees as shelter belts to moderate the force of extreme winds.

Further aspects to consider

  • Stop expecting the “Economy” to always be growing – how about simply being stable?  An expanding economy encourages rich people to acquire more manufactured things than they need.  The “Economy” dominates the whole social sphere, especially the Rights aspect.  We need legislation that strengthens Human rights and curtails the power of corporations/oligarchs.  But making such legislation requires COURAGE. 
  • Industrial wage slavery forces people to work more than is necessary just to get enough income to subsist.  A Universal Basic Income as a human right [part of the RIGHTS sphere] takes the pressure off further expanding the economy, which merely makes the oligarchs even richer, increase the gap between rich and poor.  A key aspect of Rudolf Steiner’s Threefold Social (Freedom, Fairness, Fellowship) is that the ECONOMY relates to the principle of Brotherhood or FELLOWSHIP and is focussed on the task of meeting the needs of our fellows, of others [altruistic] not ourselves [egotistic].  The modern primary concept/concern of the Economy is contrary to that – that the Economy is a place to enrich oneself via wages, investments, etc. as a source of income.
  • Income is a concern of the sphere of RIGHTS [between people], where the principle is FAIRNESS.


 In the article’s Final Thoughts:

The evidence indicates that for a region the size of Alabama (or NZ?) and the way weather changes all the time already, the extra GREENHOUSE GASES effect is still so small it is lost in the noise of natural variability. And, there is this possibility – since the forcing that the extra GHGs exert is such a tiny part of the entire system one can imagine that other major processes might take fuller advantage of their ability to cool off the climate and, at least in part, counteract the warming influences of the extra GHGs.  The direction that the climate takes from here for the world … is still a murky issue.” p37


What do you think?


I would like to encourage comments and contributions from readers.


slightly up

Posted: Sun 08 Jan 2023